The moon has been flirting with Jupiter in the evenings, but that assignation is about to end. Just after sunset on Saturday June 28 we’ll see a brilliant Jupiter blazing just above the western horizon, while a timid, waxing crescent moon will be just below.
“It’ll be a worthwhile challenge to spot this pale ghost of a moon—called a young moon by astronomers—in the glow of twilight,” says Earthsky.org. “You’ll need a crystal-clear sky, an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset and probably binoculars. What will you see? Just the thinnest of crescents in the twilight sky, for a short time after the sun goes down.”
One must be quick to catch the moon on this night, since it sets just after the sun goes down, following closely on the sun’s heels, according to Earthsky.org. Start gazing a half hour before sunset, max.
Jupiter, on the other hand, is best seen 45 to 60 minutes after the sun sets, Earthsky.org says, because it’s higher than the moon. And it is on the way out of our view.
“Jupiter is now low in the western sky at sunset, and is lost behind the sun at the end of the month,” says Space.com.
For an extra treat the next day, check out the eastern sky after dusk settles into night, says Sky and Telescope.
“All across the low eastern sky on any clear night now, the starry, mottled band of the Milky Way is looming up,” Sky and Telescope says. “It rises higher through the night and crosses straight overhead around 3 a.m.”
Those between 30 and 35 degrees latitude—which is to say, southern Turtle Island—will have to wait a little while, as Astronomy.com notes, since June 29 is the latest sunset of the year for those regions.
And an hour before sunrise on June 30, be sure to catch Venus near the horizon—stare at the brilliant planet and keep part of your attention above it and slightly to the right to see the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters.